Wealth Planning


Zia Ahmed Khan


Goat Farm

Goat farming as a source of supplementing household income is attracting increasing attention especially among landless agricultural laborers and small and marginal farmers mostly among Muslim and other marginalized groups. Women are increasingly finding it as a potential source of earning income to meet their personal requirements like buying ornaments; cloths etc. since the men mostly concentrate on large animals and pocket the earnings and for other needs of family. The Muslim festival of Eid is one important driver for rearing goats in as a large number of goats are needed for sacrifice during this festival and rural people find it economically very rewarding to rear goats for sale. The goat population is likely to get a further boost once the culinary preferences of other communities like Hindus, who are in the majority change in favor of non-vegetarian foods. Goats of good productive potential are likely to be introduced in an area once the local demand rises, owing to increasing awareness and industrialization. The landless, small and marginal farmers are gradually recognizing the potential of goats as a low cost solution to resourcelessness. Large animals do not fit well into their household and infrastructural paradigms and goat have minimal requirements and is becoming more attractive.

Goats are a highly attractive asset for poor women in India as also in the area under study. Yet land, credit and extension policy in many states in India effectively discriminate against goat- owners, on the grounds that goats are particularly damaging to environment (Conway et al, 2002). This antipathy of development agencies especially within the domain of government in the name of environmental protection should change since there is no definite evidence to prove that goats pose a threat to the environment. Instead, technical, extension and marketing support should be provided so as to make goat production a profitable enterprise for all sections of society irrespective of caste, creed, land holding etc. The tradition bound communities currently not rearing goat though economically poor should be motivated through educational and incentive based developmental interventions to take up goat husbandry for their upliftment. Use of goat milk also should be promoted among the local people, and stall feeding needs encouragement. Government agencies and NGOs have to play a vital role in these efforts.

Goats are a multi-functional animal and can play a significant role in the economy and nutrition of landless, small and marginal farmers in the country. Goat rearing is an enterprise which has been practiced by a large section of population in rural areas. Goats can efficiently survive on available shrubs and trees in adverse harsh environments, in low fertility lands where no crops can be grown. In pastoral and agricultural subsistence societies in India, goats are kept as a source of additional income and as an insurance against disaster. Goats are also used in ceremonial feastings and for the payment of social dues. In addition to this, goat has religious and ritualistic importance in many societies. The advantages of goat rearing are:

  • The initial investment needed for Goat farming is low.
  • Due to small body size and docile nature, housing requirements and management problems with goats are less.
  • Goats are friendly animals and enjoy being with the people.
  • Goats are prolific breeders and achieve sexual maturity at the age of 10-12 months.
  • Further, gestation period in goats is short and at the age of 16-17 months it starts giving milk. Twinning is very common and triplets and quadruplets are rare.
  • In drought prone areas, risk of goat farming is very much less as compared to other livestock.
  • Unlike large animals under commercial farming conditions, both male and female goats have equal value.
  • Goats are ideal for mixed species grazing. The animal can thrive well on wide variety of thorny bushes, weeds, crop residues, agricultural by-products unsuitable for human consumption.
  • With proper management, goats can improve and maintain grazing land and reduce bush encroachment (biological control) without causing harm to the environment.
  • No religious taboo against goat slaughter and meat consumption prevalent in the country.
  • Slaughter and dressing operation and meat disposal can be carried without much environmental problems.
  • Goat meat is more lean (low cholesterol) and relatively good for people who prefer low energy diet especially in summer and sometimes goat meat (chevon) is preferred over mutton because of its "chewability"
  • Goat milk is easier to digest than cow's milk because of smaller fat globules and is naturally homogenised. Goat milk is said to play a role in improving appetite and digestive efficiency. Goat milk is non allergic as compared to cow's milk and it has anti-fungal and anti bacterial properties and can be used for treating urogenital diseases of fungal origin.
  • Goats are 2.5 times more economical than sheep on free range grazing under semi arid conditions.
  • Goat creates employment to the rural poor besides effectively utilizing unpaid family labour. There is ample scope for establishing cottage industries based on goat meat and milk products and value addition to skin and fibre.
  • Goat is termed as walking refrigerator for the storage of milk and can be milked number of times in a day.

Why do Dairy Farming?
Dairying is an important source of subsidiary income to small/marginal farmers and agricultural labourers. The manure from animals provides a good source of organic matter for improving soil fertility and crop yields. The gober gas from the dung is used as fuel for domestic purposes as also for running engines for drawing water from well. The surplus fodder and agricultural by-products are gainfully utilized for feeding the animals. Almost all draught power for farm operations and transportation is supplied by bullocks. Since agriculture is mostly seasonal, there is a possibility of finding employment throughout the year for many persons through dairy farming. Thus, dairy also provides employment throughout the year. The main beneficiaries of dairy programmes are to small/marginal farmers and landless labourers. According to World Bank estimates about 75 per cent of India's 940 million people are in 5.87 million villages, cultivating over 145 million hectares of cropland. Average farm size is about 1.66 hectares. Among 70 million rural households, 42 per cent operate up to 2 hectares and 37 per cent are landless households. These landless and small farmers have in their possession 53 per cent of the animals and produce 51 per cent of the milk. Thus, small/marginal farmers and land less agricultural labourers play a very important role in milk production of the country. Dairy farming can also be taken up as a main occupation around big urban centres where the demand for milk is high.

Scope for Dairy Farming and its National Importance
Total milk production in the country for the year 2001-02 was estimated at 84.6 million metric tonnes. At this level of production, the per capita availability was to be 226 grams per day against the minimum requirement of 250 grams per day as recommended by ICMR. Thus, there is a tremendous scope/potential for increasing the milk production. The population of breeding cows and buffaloes over 3 years of age was 62.6 million and 42.4 million, respectively (1992 census)

Central and State Governments are giving considerable financial assistance for creating infrastructure facilities for milk production. The nineth plan outlay on Animal Husbandry and Dairying was Rs. 2345 crores.







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